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Former husband denies will influence

A BUSINESSMAN has denied influencing his millionaire ex-wife to change her will on her death-bed.

Monaco-based Iain Romanes, 66, insisted his ex-wife Deirdre would have fought a court bid to overturn her expressed wishes.

Just days before losing a long battle against cancer, newspaper proprietor Deirdre Romanes, 60, signed documents making £3 million available to pump into Dunfermline Press through a trust fund.

However, her sister Elizabeth Smyth, 61, claims the change robbed her of almost half of what she would have got from an earlier will. She also claims the change benefited Mr Romanes, who held a substantial stake in the newspaper company.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh has heard how Mr Romanes returned to Edinburgh for the last two weeks of his ex-wife's life in May 2010. He had left her nine years earlier for another woman but spent time with Mrs Romanes in her home.

Yesterday, Mr Romanes was questioned in court by Mrs Smyth, of County Meath, Ireland.

He said he could not recollect being at a meeting which discussed Mrs Romanes's legacy in May 2010 - even though a note by one of her executors indicated he was at the meeting.

Mrs Smyth asked why her late sister had changed her mind so dramatically.

"I don't think this was dramatic," said Mr Romanes. "It was planned by Deirdre for several months."

Mrs Smyth is asking judge Lord Glennie to rule that when her sister changed her will she "lacked capacity" and was easily influenced. The hearing continues.

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